Environment Planning in the Cloud: How You Can Improve Efficiency With a Landing Zone

May 21, 2021

Organizations tend to cite efficiency as a primary motivator to the cloud, because they know migration can improve flexibility, scalability, and make them more cost-effective. But many business leaders don’t realize that building a more efficient company culture starts with a specific part of the cloud migration journey: environment planning.

At Enquizit, we call the environment planning phase of our migration process “building a Landing Zone.” But what is a Landing Zone, and how can it change your company culture? In this blog post, we’ll explain what a Landing Zone is, and why it’s one of the most impactful phases in your cloud journey.

What Is a Landing Zone?

Imagine an empty city. Everything is in place: the houses, the roads, the parks, the plumbing. You’ve stocked the stores and installed traffic lights. All that’s missing are the people. But before anyone moves in, they must agree to follow the rules.

Your cloud Landing Zone is essentially an empty city ­– a specific, coded set of rules that is based on the decisions your team made in earlier phases about what’s best for your organization. It’s the final phase of migration planning, in which your team builds out your cloud environment to exact specifications, so everyone can examine it and agree on the finished product before deploying. Although the Landing Zone begins as a prototype, it becomes an integrated, and integral, part of your cloud environment.

Having a tangible cloud environment in which you can test migration is a vital part of the process because it eases the transition into the cloud. But the Landing Zone is more than just a testing ground. It’s also an opportunity for your team to set clear standards about what is best for the organization going forward – and that shifts how your company does business. Read on to find out how.

Why Is a Landing Zone Critical?

How often does your team get bogged down debating the details? When you build a Landing Zone, your team can front-load the decision-making process, allowing you to spend less time in meetings and more time making decisions that align with your mission. In essence, the Landing Zone gives you the chance to automate your decision-making in the cloud, because you’ve already established what’s best for your team.

What does that look like in practice? Here are four ways that building a Landing Zone can shift how you do business:

1: When You Make Changes, Everyone Benefits

In an on-premises environment, one department might make a change to their IT infrastructure that increases productivity by 25% – but other teams might not even know about that change. When you build a Landing Zone, though, everyone brings their best ideas to the table, allowing the entire organization to benefit from those ideas. And when you make changes to your system in the future, like improving security or changing a process to meet new compliance standards, everyone reaps the benefits of those changes.

2: Less Internal Conflict

One of the great things about your Landing Zone is that it’s incredibly specific. It’s an equation, not an essay. Instead of basing your decisions on ambiguous definitions, the Landing Zone tells you what to implement and at what level, so you meet the standards you set during migration. This allows you to reduce internal conversations and conflict, and focus on getting work done. For example, instead of wasting time debating what “high-level security” means when you are updating your security operations center, your team can just implement changes based on the standards you set in your Landing Zone. You’ve already set the protocol – now you just need to follow it.

3: Room for Flexibility

Some large organizations feel nervous about creating a standardized set of rules for the entire company, because different departments have different needs. But one of the perks of a Landing Zone is that you can build out space for each of those departments, while ensuring that everyone is compliant with company-wide regulations. If we go back to our city model, you might think of this as building a gated neighborhood within the city. Everyone still follows city traffic laws, but that neighborhood might have additional rules they’ve agreed upon. The Landing Zone allows you to be flexible with the needs of individual departments, while staying connected to the organization as a whole.

4: It’s Easier to Stay Compliant

Finally, Landing Zones make it easier to stay compliant. Instead of spending weeks demonstrating compliance during an audit, your company can easily prove that every department is up to snuff, because those regulations are the foundation of your cloud environment. Building compliance standards into your Landing Zone also ensures you don’t drift during the off-season, so your information stays safe year-round.

A More Efficient Culture

Creating a more efficient culture starts from the ground-up – so why not bake it into your technology? When you take the time to establish best practices for your organization in your Landing Zone, you save time and money for decades to come.

Learn more:

Cloud Transformation

Asim Iqbal

Asim is Enquizit’s CTO and a member of the founding team. He has been an SME on security, storage, and resilience as well as Enquizit’s Lead Architect and VP of Solution Architecture. Among his professional endeavors is the implementation of a weather modeling HPC setup for Environment Canada, storage design and implementation for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind’s library, Media ingestion, encryption, and transcoding architecture for Bell Satellite TV, Cloud infrastructure, resilience, and security architecture and implementation for The Common Application and complete migration of Harvard Business Review’s Primary and DR data center to AWS. He maintains a strong personal interest in frictionless technical designs focused on end-user happiness and employee satisfaction, still thinks that ‘Data Availability Architect’ (from his early days working with HPE) is the coolest certification title ever and is an ex-CISSP. He neither confirms nor denies his purported afflictions with coffee, slow travel, and cats with unbridled spirits.

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